SUVA (PACNEWS) — Just hours after Pacific Leaders voted in a new head of its Secretariat in Fiji, the head of another regional organisation, the University of the South Pacific was deported from Fiji.
USP’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Ahluwalia and his wife, Sandra Price were forced out of the country after they were declared prohibited immigrants by Fijian Immigration. They left on a flight to Brisbane this morning.
USP is one of the eight regional organisations in the Pacific endorsed by Pacific leaders.
Political parties in Fiji have criticised the deportation telling Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama the decision of his government to deport Professor Ahluwalia and his wife will not be tolerated by law abiding citizens as well as USP member countries around the Pacific region.
“Voreqe Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum are behaving like as if they own Fiji and they own USP. They show zero respect for the 50 years of work of thousands of leaders, public servants and staff and students who made USP the most successful regional body, said the National Federation Party (NFP).
“When the government starts behaving in the manner of bullies and thugs, it is time for them to go. For this government, its departure is long overdue, said the NFP.
Another opposition party, the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) said VC Ahluwalia and his wife ‘didn’t deserve the barbaric treatment they received last night.
“It is outrageous and indicates the type of dictatorial leadership in Fiji, said SODELPA.
SODELPA urged the Fijian Government to reverse the decision and immediately allow Professor Ahluwalia back to continue his job.
In the same vein, the Fiji Law Society asked the government not to deport the head of USP.
“Professor Ahluwalia and his wife are in Fiji legally and must be treated with dignity and the due process of the law. If there are allegation against them, they must be investigated according to law and any evidence gathered must be handed to the proper authorities for further investigations or prosecution, said the Fiji Law Society.
A statement from the University of the South Pacific Staff Union reflected the disgust of staff members at the deportation of their Vice Chancellor.
“We are alarmed at the way the government of Fiji broke into the VC’s residence in the middle of the night (03 Feb 2021) and orchestrated their removal. The manner in which they were removed is a violation of human rights and due process.
“Given the seriousness of the decision, we demand the Fiji Government to provide the justification for this gestapo tactic.
“Given the impact on USP’s reputation and staff morale, we reiterate our support for the USP Council to proceed with its scheduled meeting to fully discuss this matter and already agreed to agenda items, to arrive at regionally acceptable solutions, said the USP Staff Union statement.
They labelled the deportation ‘un-Pasifika, and anti-Vuvale behaviour.’
“USP is a regional organisation – like PIFS, SPREP, FFA and SPC and we demand the same respect given to these institutions, said the USP Staff Union…. PACNEWS