16 Dec 2003

Former Fiji minister sees benefits in peace support industry

11:39 am on 16 December 2003

A former Fiji finance minister says the country could create 6-thousand full-time jobs and boost the economy by forming a peace support industry.

The Fiji Sun says Jim Ah Koy believes Fijians have a worldwide reputation as peacekeepers and good soldiers established since their deployment in Lebanon in 1978.

Mr Ah Koy says Fiji has all the ingredients to make a peacekeeping industry work with its huge potential for foreign exchange earnings, employment and prestige.

He says Global Risk Strategies Limited has already recruited more than 500 unemployed, reserve soldiers for Iraq and another 2-thousand Fijians are serving as regular troops in the British Army.

Mr Ah Koy suggests that the government and the private sector form a company made up of retired army officers and ex-servicemen.

Mr Ah Koy, who is a multi-millionaire businessman, says such a company would have the freedom to negotiate on the global scene to ensure all avenues are explored.