7 Aug 2007

Fiji military happy that Britain resists Commonwealth pressure on recruitment

3:36 pm on 7 August 2007

Fiji's military is pleased the British army has resisted pressure from some Commonwealth countries to stop recruiting from Fiji.

The army spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, says recruitment into the British army has always been welcomed as an employment option for Fiji's youth.

The Commonwealth Secretary General, Don McKinnon, is reported to have said that Britain is not setting a good example by taking on recruits from a nation whose army has carried out a coup.

But Major Leweni says the lobbying to get the recruitment stopped was expected:

"It's a move that we had anticipated and it's unfortunate and of course because of those moves we shall look elsewhere for military assistance, for military training. So that is the way we'll go."

Fiji's army spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni.

A defence analyst and senior fellow at the Centre for Stragegic Studies in Wellington, Jim Rolfe, says the British choice is a matter of expedience:

The British army has been overstretched for some years now and they are looking for recruits wherever they can get them and in Fiji they find people with military experience who understand the military system and who can be trained in the British way with the minimum of problems.

Jim Rolfe