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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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Catholic Priest, Social Activist Relieved To Stay In Fiji
Father Kevin Barr has expulsion order reversed by Bainimarama

By Mereani Gonedua

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 26, 2013) – Catholic priest and prominent social worker Father Kevin Barr has admitted his ‘relief’ after he was told he could stay on in the country to serve his current work permit which expires 31 December 2013.

Father Barr, 76, who has called Fiji his home for 32 years was ordered to leave the country by Sunday by the Immigration Dept claiming that he had breached his work permit.

This was however overturned by Fiji prime minister Voreqe Bainimarama after a discussion with the Immigration Dept and the Minister responsible Joketani Cokanasiga.

Speaking to FijiLive Father Barr said he was awaiting official documents from the Immigration department adding he learned about the development through the media.

"This has been my home for 32 years now and I am happy and grateful that now I would be able to stay with my family and friends that are here," he said.

"I was sad and disappointed when they told me that I had to leave but now I am over the moon." Father Barr said he would like to stay on in the country when his current permit expires something he admits he would need to negotiate with the authorities about.

He was told Friday evening to leave the country by Sunday, the notice issued by Minister for Immigration Joketani Cokanasiga after he breached his work permit.

The decision was overturned this morning.

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