14 Jun 2006

Fijian security guards condemn PM's call to come home and till the fields

9:26 am on 14 June 2006

Fijian security guards working in high risk jobs in Iraq have condemned the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, for calling on them to return home and farm the land.

The Fiji Times quotes a spokesman for the guards, Asaeli Naitege Junior, as saying the the men would love to stay and work in Fiji but the government does not provide any employment opportunities for them.

Mr Naitege says the government gives more opportunities to ex-prisoners by a grant of 3-thousand US dollars on their release, while law abiding citizens like the security guards in Iraq have to work hard to feed their families.

He says ex-servicemen do not have special government funding to help them after they leave active duty.

Mr Naitege says most of the men who leave Fiji for Iraq do so because of poor wages and the lack of jobs.

He says Mr Qarase's comments are totally uncalled for and have no merit.

Fijian security guards employed in Iraq earn up to 3,000 US dollars a month which amounts to about 5,000 Fiji dollars.