Study Finds Fiji Peacekeeping Bad For Economy, Political Stability

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Elite soldiers currently spread throughout Fiji’s military government

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 3, 2014) – A recent study looking at Fiji's peacekeeping efforts suggest that it has had a negative impact on the economy and on its role in domestic politics, with the military having overthrown three democratically elected governments in the past few decades.

Study author, Lt Colonel Jone Baledrokadroka, told Pacific Beat that although Fiji's role in international peacekeeping has contributed to some positive outcomes abroad, the result for domestic politics has been detrimental.

"What I'm saying is there's been an aberration ... as far as the Fiji military's concerned where they delve into politics," Mr Baledrokadroka said.

"A whole lot of the elite have had vast experience in peacekeeping ... there's about over 50 officers who are in fact spread throughout the structure of government in Fiji."

"It's an unintended outcome of what was perceived to be a good foreign policy and now what has happened is that it is deleterious to the whole economy, to society."

Fiji's recent political history has been marked by coups. Fiji's interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama lead a military coup in 2006 to seize control of the country. He has promised democratic elections will be held this year.

Mr Baledrokadroka said the number of military coups in Fiji's recent past have set its economy back.

"Despite the fact that they say [UN Peacekeeping] reimbursement helps an economy, I'd argue it's the opposite and it in-fact impedes the growth of an economy," he said.

"Coups take the country back ten years, you've had three coups so you've gone back actually 30 years."

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