THE military is an encumbrance to our political and social life and the public budget ($100m a year is spent on the military).It is a threat to our personal security.
It has violently overthrown a democratically-elected government and carried out arbitrary arrests. Our longest period of democracy and stability will come when the military is totally demilitarised.
As long as the army is there, it will divert money that is urgently needed for education, healthcare, infrastructure and environmental programs.
If you look at the real role of the military in Fiji, you will see that it is the backbone of dictators and an instrument of internal repression.
Abolishing the army has several functions. It prohibits the formation of a military group capable of gaining autonomy, avoids military involvement in political affairs, avoids dictatorship, coups and internal turmoil that has plagued Fiji, frees public funds for development, allows the government to spend more on health, education and ecology, makes elections the only route to- power and establishes Fiji’s neutrality in the region and the world.
Fiji’s commitment to peace and stability will start when it abolishes the army.
A militarily weak country cannot be attacked without provoking international condemnation of the aggressor and shows the illegitimacy of armed opposition toward a state that has renounced the use of force.
Costa Rica’s experience is proof that Fiji must abolish the army through a constitutional amendment and recognise an Anglo-Saxon nation (Australia) as the dominant super power of the region and as its ally and friend.
Fourteen countries have followed Costa Rica’s example and demilitarised through constitutional amendments and 28 nations have no army.
(Fiji Times Letters to the editor 4/8/08 )