A Clarification and Further Apology from Fr Barr

Dear Croz,
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 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I am grateful that the decision for me to leave Fiji has been revoked by the PM.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 Barr.

Comments

totally farked up said…
So did the unelected dictator call Father Barr a farked up priest or not? If so it would appear he got it wrong - he should have called him a 'farked up cowardly priest'!!
Anonymous said…
What an appalling person you are TFU. So you don't like Father's Barr's clarification. Who cares what you think. It's the same with all you anti-regime types. All or nothing. Then a stream of obscenities when you don't get the result you want. It is you who is totally effed up. Father Barr is obviously a man of principle who was let down by your kai vata, who were intent of using him for their own purposes. He's apologised for his comments on the flag and rightfully so. They were very insensitive. Now it's time for us all to move on. Thank God for people like Father Barr. Thank God for the PM. They both understand the meaning of forgiveness snd reconciliation. The true Fijian way.
Anonymous said…
The Father is playing it safe - he knows the mental state of the dictator - for him to remain in Fiji, he has to retract and get his extension past December 2013. Even if his trust was breached, the fact remains that the dictator abused a principled man, a loyal Australian of 32 years service to Fiji, in a language unbecoming of someone who goes around with the title Prime Minister of Fiji, even though we know he got it through the barrel of the gun, and is holding it at the barrel of the gun. Croz you can put as much spin as you want - the fact remains the dictator abused him by calling him all sorts of names and sent those revolting texts etc from his mobile phone although you have put down the misunderstanding to dictator's lack of education and grasp of the English language - it also begs the question - does he know and understand what he is reading in English?
Anonymous said…
I am happy to see Father Barr will remain in Fiji and continue his good work. Thanks to the PM for making a wise move eventually. Father Barr is much loved and respected in Fiji.
Anonymous said…
Then maybe he should have realised that when you suggest that Fiji is subservient to China and ought to have the Chinese flag replace the Union Jack that the PM might be just a bit annoyed. This was an insult to Fijians and our flag by an Australian who has lived here for 32 years but couldn't be bothered getting residency let alone become a citizen. Well I'm sorry, Father Barr and all your misguided supporters. It wasn't a joke that the rest of us got and there is no other way to look at it. The PM obviously overreacted and the language wasn't great but he was well within his rights to be upset. BTW, so Father Barr doesn't like the Chinese influence in Fiji. Well maybe to should spend a bit more time trying to convince his Aussie mates to lift their sanctions on Fiji so that we don't have to rely on the Chinese in the first place. Time to make a decision, Father Barr. Fiji or Australia?
What did he expect? said…
Father Barr comes across as very naive. He hangs out with all these unions types like Felix the Fat Cat and wonders why they exploit him by leaking his letter. Because they don't give a damn about you. It's about using you for their own purposes. Yes, his heart is in the right place and it's great that he spends his time working for the poor. But Father Barr made the big mistake of getting caught up in politics. If you do that as a foreigner in Fiji you have always been in breach of your work permit. That's been the case long before the Government came along.
Reality check said…
Cranky Franky has to learn to control his temper if he wants to be an elected politician. The way he flies off the handle like he did is making people wonder if he is fit to be PM. Too often he seems to shoot first and asks questions later. He should learn to sleep on things when he gets angry rather than pick up the phone and go out all guns blazing.
Anonymous said…
Manners makeyth Man
Anonymous said…
Barr's apology may be a double edged sword. On the surface it is an apology to the dictator, but at second glance his apology exposes the dictator for what he is: An uneducated bully unable to accept the least bit of humour or criticism, always ready to throw a temper tantrum and abuse anyone who does not toe his line. We won't hear an apology from him for abusing the Father. My advise to Father Barr would be to get out and move on. There is a very long list of empirical evidence that with this regime there is no dialogue or discourse, there is no room for anything but support for a very unsavoury junta.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous:Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 12:48:00 PM GMT+13:00

Father Barr actually cares about the people of Fiji and that is why he does not want to leave.
Anonymous said…
Hilarious. Australia and NZ are more reliant on China than Fiji is. Why did the politicians avoid meeting the Delai Lama? Or attending exhibitions by Chinese dissidents? They woukd flock to meet Fiji Givernment dissidents!
Anonymous said…
Croz,

Surprised you missed this whole story. If you want to see spin in action read the sun, times or Fiji live. All three make out that it was the kind intervention of the PM (good king) that saved Barr. No one reported it was the PM himeself who ordered him out of the country. The PM caused this mess not the other way around.

Now lets look at the issue of his work permit. Apparently he breached it ? Well strange that when he wsa chair of the wagers council (not a religious missionary role) which was a clear breach of work permit nothing happened.

The real story here is the current government has confirmed they will deal with any foreigner at whim and hoever they see fit.
Anonymous said…
You have to be joking ! "PM makeing a wise move" - it was the PM who flew into rage, threatoned and ordered Barrs removal from Fiji. It was only spin doctors who convinced him it would be better to let him stay.
Anonymous said…
Can one imagine the type of people who will be willing to serve under a leader like Bainimarama considering his leadership style. We will have a party of "one" with droves of servile lackies.

Anonymous said…
If this gutless Father Barr is an example God help Fiji and its children.
Anonymous said…
Croz knows the real story but he cant be seen as criticing his beloved military government and king Frank
Missing the point said…
Father Barr did have to make this apolody but he forgot to include that the comment was also disrespectful to the Chinese. A comment like that, even made in jest, only gets a reaction because it creates fear/shock. Prior to 2006 if someone made a comment that the Aussie, NZ or US flag should be in the corner of the Fiji flag everyone would have disregarded it. So saying it now with the Chinese is plainly racist.
Anonymous said…
Because the hand that feeds you.. also as the power to take away the food. Remember, the ozzies and kiwis need china more than Fiji. Also, Britain and the USA are declining powers. Asia is the future now...
Anonymous said…
It is racist and he should learn that!! He now understands where the power lies. As for the Government, no amount of external influence affects them. The opposition squealing is coming to an end. Things are changing. Yes, dictator, yes .. things are moving forward! We are not going to be subservient to others. As for china, everyone is licking them. If Fiji has an advantage, we should be proud. China never abandons a friend. Just ask Pakistan and North Korean.. both have Nukes thanks to China!!
Anonymous said…
OMG, this used to be such a civilised website. Now it's peopled by some of the nuttiest people in Fiji and their even nuttier kai vata abroad. Here's someone who wants China to give us nuclear weapons! Eff me dead!
Comments please croz said…
Comments please Croz?
Professor Yash Ghai on the Political Parties Decree:
"It is introduced by an unelected regime to establish rules for the formation, regulation, and dissolution of the political parties...It is particularly objectionable that the Decree should be drafted by a regime which has shown little respect or even understanding of democracy or political parties...The Registrar is not an independent officer but would be fully responsible to the Minister—therefore it is the government (and in this case the unelected government) which has an interest in the outcome of the elections which will make the final decision on registration...Equally, the conduct of elections is the responsibility of an independent electoral commission, not that of a ministry...The likelihood that these provisions would be used to interfere with the activities of parties out of favour with the government is quite high (given the record of this regime)"
Fiji Man said…
Fr Barr thank you for your courage in choosing to remain with Fiji's poor during tough times.
You are the only one who is working full-time for this country's underprivileged.
You are in the best position to know how we have so many poor people in Fiji.
You understand very well their their suffering because you have worked and walked among them.
You have but one motivation - do all in your power to ease their pain.
That is what drives you and gives you strength to stand up to the kind of shameful treatment you have received.
Your critics on this site are motivated by politics.
They have no idea about Fiji's poor, so they do not give a rat's arse.
They just want to play politics.
Ignore them Fr and carry on with your great work.
You are doing more for the poor than 100 politicians or chiefs put together.
Know that your work has not gone unnoticed.
Know that you are loved and respected deeply by many, many Fijians.
Frank has deported media publishers and diplomats.
But he made a big mistake when he tried that you.
Lucky for him he realised and recanted.




Anonymous said…
Yash Ghai would do well to shut up. Fancy giving us a constitution with more non elected representatives than MPs. This bloke is a dill.
Nothing wrong with a change of heart said…
The hand that taketh also giveth. What's wrong with the PM changing his mind? It was a dumb decision on reflection and he undoubtedly realised it. It upset a whole lot of people he didn't need to upset, people who normally support him. Only a fool would proceed when that was pointed out to him.
Anonymous said…
Oh, and what, you're the big hero? Anonymous The Brave. You've got a bloody cheek calling Father Barr gutless. God help Fiji with "heroes" like you.
Anonymous said…
You're missing the point: in a democracy you have a right to insult and criticise and speak your mind. The government is not a "dear leader" that must be adored and revered and respected. For democracy to flourish it must be criticised, it must invite criticism to test its own arguments because it is only the wellbeing of the people that matters, not the delicate sensibilities of those holding high office. Fr Barr may not have intended to insult anyone but the fact is he was read the riot act because someone thought he did. So you want to be a politician and you claim you want democracy? Better thicken up that hide.

A final point: to denigrate someone because they are a foreigner who has lived here a long time and never "bothered" to become a citizen is parochial and small minded. This man has a long record of meaningful engagement with Fiji and its people, he shouldn't be dismissed on such nationalist grounds.
Anonymous said…
the non elected folk did not control government and met only once a year. there role was to advise government and every five year agree on a president. better than having all this power sit with the miliary
Anonymous said…
Hilarious. Fiji is more reliant on Australia and NZ than anyone. And if China has to make any choices between Australia and Fiji it's probably going to go with the guys who have iron ore.
Anonymous said…
Intersting point about why Father Barr or the Sun was not taken to task under the media decree. This also reminds me that the media decree was always touted as a media development decree.....is there a media council now in place, how many cases have they heard and what development activity has taken place ? Or is all that now forgotten since the paper know they are not allowed to publish any serious criticism of government and zero of the military ?
Anonymous said…
Yeah well if you think it's ok for a bunch of NGOs and other losers to choose Fiji's Head of State there's something wrong with you.
Anonymous said…
Frank did make the right call at the end - i wonder why the change of mind - whatever reason it was thank god; i think deporting Father Barr who is greatly respected and loved by many in Fiji would have been the governments biggest mistake
Anonymous said…
Just pointing out the facts. That list of 'losers' as you put it included all the elected members of parliment and the likes of the RFMF.
Anonymous said…
A good call by the PM usually means there are two bad ones just around the corner. Sadly its not very often this government moves forward with out then taking two steps backwards.
wati s said…
Yes and i wonder who appointed Ghai? oh yes that right another shot in ther foot for the regime.
desmond said…
Oh so statesmanlike to hurl abuse at the priest and threaten him, then have a flunky try to deport him only to reverse the decision and expect praise?? who say this guy isn't a politician? Fiji, beautiful one day, a banana republic the next... Perhaps the interim AG would like to discuss 'natural justice' under this regime?
junta watch said…
By 'government' do you meaqn human rights abusing unelected thieving military junta?
Anonymous said…
Des - his behavior ; if that really was him was disgraceful; at least he did not go through and deport him- credit where credit is due
Bill Carson said…
You really are TFU !!!
Anonymous said…
Hey Priest..why dont you just go back home! Leave my dictatorship and banana country alone!! Poor people need power not handouts. This time the poor have power. Sorry chiefs, sorry old politiks, sorry foreign funded NGOs ( F. Barr included)... where are poor now! hmmm lets see.. at least there is someone there to listen! This government has done more for the poor when compared to ALL previous so called democratic governments. Also, a reference to Nukes above.. sorry but it is already in the pacific.. under water. Just need some chinese subs to create a balance! It is true however that the chinese do not abandone their friends.. look at Tibet!!
Anonymous said…
At least he now knows who holds the stick!! This is the problem with the old order, cant let go of the old way of thinking.. Understand that we are a sovereign country. Many foreigners do good deeds but understand where the boundary lies. It was an offensive comment and I forgive him for that but learn to respect the government of the day!
Anonymous said…
Actually Iron ore needs the market not China. So Aussies need the money that china gives!! China can always buy from the others. As for the Pacific, it is about breaking up the PIFs and China is winning. Fiji may choose not to join this organisation in the future!
Lesley said…
“Words are easy, like the wind; Faithful friends are hard to find.”
― William Shakespeare
Whoever betrayed Father Barr's confidential email is no friend. No doubt he/she will be crossed off the Christmas Card list! I detest foul language at all times as there are other wonderful words to use to describe how you feel about something. The fact the PM texted and phoned like that shows that he and Father Barr had, (and most likely still have), a reasonably close relationship. Imagine if everyone could hear what we say at times in our private phone conversations. From now on Father Barr would be wise to steer clear of any organisation that has any political ties. The media enjoy twisting the truth and will take any opportunity to do so - for a headline and for their own agenda. Today FijiSUN has published the Editorial opinion of Cameron Slater, Editor of NZ Truth and Whaleoil Blog. After reading Father Barr's email to Croz, Michael Field must now reply and explain why he embellishes the truth or makes up stuff in his stories. Looking beyond the wrong headlines, blogs about Fiji - http://www.fijisun.com.fj/2013/01/31/looking-beyond-the-wrong-headlines-blogs-about-fiji/
grovelling priest said…
@ lesley
So the 'farked up priest' (to use the dictator's own words) is now more aptly described as a farked up grovelling cowardly priest? A coward who wants to blame everyone else except himself and his friend the dictator for his situation? Perhaps it is time the behaviour and actions of this grovelling priest were further investigated?
desmond said…
given that Fr Barr did not dipute the words attributed to bainimarama what 'relationship' could they possibly have ?? Apparently again it is required that the victim apologise to and excuse the perpetrator. How bizarre fiji is under this regime.
%$#@! said…
i notice no denial from Bainimarama of what he said to Fr Barr and no apology has been forthcoming, ever in fact. Good to see there are people keen to leap to the defense of Bainimaram and explain his disgusting behaviour and attack a preist that still claims to be pro-regime!! Good to see you are upholding the standards you so clearly expect of others, except those in the Bainimarama regime.
wati s said…
Yes, i would have thought Fr Barr has done more unselfishly FOR Fiji rather than what Bainimarama and his own bunch of cronies have done TO fiji. As there is a call for apologies, I wonder if Kean ever apologised for killing someone? Remarkable how that doesn't deserve much criticism but writing to the newpaper does?? Only in fiji do they apologise for things that happened generations ago, but this illegal PM has never uttered a word about what he has done or even bothred to seek forgiveness. One rule for some eh!!
Anonymous said…
Someone found out just who the boss of the house is! There is no doubt who is in charge... ha ha.. the squealing opposition cant do much.. Sorry Father... but you should have known better!!
Anonymous said…
Send Fr Barr into permanent confession.
Lesley said…
Actually - think it is time that some journalist's behaviour and actions were investigated. As I said - I detest any bad language - no matter who says it. The conversation between Father Barr and PM Frank Bainimarama was not a public conversation. The email sent to friends was private and confidential. I read that he sent the email to give "clarification to the misinterpretations which seem to have emerged."
Bill Wadely aka 'Vili the Kid' said…
Illegal PM? Where the F--k have you been all this time you dickhead?

Hello, there was an election in September that he won convincingly!

Get a grasp of reality 'Wati S' and stop behaving like a twat!

As for Fr Barr, he is Aussie....and has never bothered to take up Fijian citizenship. Why?

He should be concerned about the plight of his Aboriginal countrymen who have been marginalized by the policies of 'White Australia'.

It sickens me to see such hypocrisy by an supposed Man of the Cloth!

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