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Father Barr clears up ‘misunderstanding’ about Fiji flag ‘dig’


Father Kevin Barr clarifies deportation controversy in Fiji. Image: FBC News

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the PMC newsdesk

Prominent Fiji social justice advocate Father Kevin Barr – issued a controversial deportation order [1] last week later withdrawn by the regime leader – has spoken out about “misunderstandings” over a “humourous dig” and declared his commitment to the wellbeing of the country.

He apologised over the misinterpretations and made his statement on a blog regarded as sympathetic to the regime.

“I am grateful that the decision for me to leave Fiji has been revoked by the Prime Minister [Voreqe Bainimarama]. I see Fiji as my home and I am committed to all the people I love and serve here.”His clarification on professor Crosbie Walsh’s Fiji blog [2] said:

“Greetings from Fiji!

“Sorry I have not been in touch recently but I have been busy and did not have access to my internet.  Our system has had some problems.

“You are obviously aware of the events of the past few days and the misunderstandings and misinterpretations that seem to have arisen. You might like to publish this statement on your blogsite.

“My comment on the flag was not intended to be disrespectful to Fiji, government or the PM.  As reported, the rumour intended to be a humourous dig at the growing Chinese influence in Fiji about which I had previously expressed some concern to the PM.

“Some, including the PM, seem to have taken the letter as an insult and I again apologise if they have seen it as such.  It was not my intention.

“Also, unfortunately, my confidential letter to the Archbishop and a few close friends got into the hands of some anti-government bloggers who publicised it widely and made me appear to be anti-government.

“Again some misrepresented my talk on social justice at the recent FTUC (Fiji Trade Union Council) conference as being involvement in the founding of a new political party. While I do support worker’s unions, I had nothing to do with the founding of a new party.

“My views on the church and politics can be found in my various articles – most recently in my recent booklet on Social Justice in the Judeo-Christian Tradition, chapter 6.

“Also I did not ‘seek asylum’ at the Australian High Commission (as some have stated).  I simply went and informed the High Commission of my situation and the misunderstandings which seem to have arisen.

“As you know, for the last few years I have supported many of the good things government has been doing.  However I have also offered my criticisms directly to the PM and I trust these have been helpful and positive.

“I am grateful that the decision for me to leave Fiji has been revoked by the PM. I see Fiji as my home and I am committed to all the people I love and serve here.  I continue to hope that a positive way forward for Fiji will be found and the vision originally proposed by the PM will become a reality.

“You are welcome to publish the above as a clarification to the misinterpretations which seem to have emerged.

“Keep well and every blessing.

“Kevin Bar, Suva.”

Source: A clarification [2]
Father Barr considers retiring [3]