NO NEED FOR ARMED MILITARY FORCE
I just find it hard to believe why the electorate of Fiji, politicians and their political parties do not have any desire to abolish the Fiji Military Force in totality. There is no talk about it , there is no discussion about it , there is nothing in the party manifestos, there is no propaganda against it , there is no mention of it in the media- not a hint any where in the thin air about abolishing the FMF altogether.
Fiji does not need a military force to secure its oceanic borders, to keep internal peace and to patrol its beautiful coast lines and territorial waters. There is no threat from neighboring countries like Australia or New Zealand. They have their own problems to resolve and are not in any dire need of additional real estate. The surroundings islands such as Tonga, Samoa and many other islands such as Nauru etc., does not have intentions to expand its territory and powers. They have neither the economy nor the political or the military might to do anything else apart from feeding, clothing and housing their own people.
The newly elected Fiji government that hopefully will be sworn in September 2014 can save millions of dollars in diverting the FMF budget towards upgrading the infra structure and investing in new industries, creating more employment , spending more money on education , roads, housing etc.,
If one looks at a country like Mauritius, a country that is always compared with Fiji ; one will find it has no armed forces. I was amazed to learn that Mauritius has not had a standing army since 1968. All military, police and security functions are carried out by thousands of active duty police personnel under the command of commissioner of police. These police officers are responsible for internal law enforcement, national coast guard and other special paramilitary type of operations. Similarly, there are about twenty other countries all over the world that does not have “armed forces”. Some countries with neighbors like Costa Rica, Panama and even Iceland does not have a standing armed forces.
Granted some of these countries have some sort of defense agreement with some large allies like USA , France and Russia for training their personnel and supplying weapons and military equipment. Nevertheless, the fact remains that they do not have armed force to brag about. Hence, the question is- why can’t Fiji do the same ? Perhaps fiji can get some assistance in training its SWAT teams from countries like USA , India and Great Britain. Australia and New Zealand should be the first choice for providing training and equipments but if they are reluctant then one has to look for help from other friendly countries.
I do understand that the Constitution does provide it its articles for “armed forces” but eventually as we get accustomed to this idea of abolishment of the military; we can amend the Constitution getting rid of those provisions dealing with armed forces .
Here are ten arguments in favor of abolishing the armed forces. I am sure there are many more reasons.
- Save millions of dollars in recruiting, keeping, training and maintaining an armed force
- The expanded Police Force will have members of all races and will be attractive source of employment for youngsters. It will be civil service position with all its perks.
- The possibility of having another coup will be almost non- existent.
- The Judiciary process will get involved if there is abuse of process, powers and procedures.
- Political stability of the country will be greatly enhanced
- Fiji will have a highly trained SWAT team to deal with drugs and other vices
- Cross trained personnel who can do other civil service jobs whenever required.
- Young police officers will be given incentive by being offered free tertiary education once they have served minimum of five years in police force
- Army barracks and buildings can be used for other public services like temporarily housing the elderly and homeless
- A large police force will eventually lead to more physically fit and highly civil minded young people in the community.
I do know that there are dozens of strong arguments that can be made against the abolition of armed forces. Nonetheless, I think there will be few arguments that can dispute my ten points mentioned above. I must confess that getting rid of the army is one issue that comes to my mind not every time when there is a coup in Fiji but every time, I see an army vehicle on the road just cruising around aimlessly loaded with passengers in army uniforms. What a waste of time and money under pretense of national security.
I do know that United Nation employs a number of Fiji military personnel every year. Fiji is paid generously by United Nations for these brave soldiers. However, it ought to be kept in mind that modern peace keeping operations and state of art weapons do not require too many boots on the ground. In time to come, United Nations will need less number of soldiers to keep peace.
The geographical location of Fiji proffers it in such a secured, safe and ideal position that invasion from outside powers should be the least of its worries. If and when Fiji can afford it, just one small THADD radar system will protect the entire Fiji Islands from any outside perceived or real danger of invasion by a foreign country.
This is one major issue that any political party can have on top of its agenda and will garner thousands of votes. This article is meant as a food for thought to improve our country and some fuel to fire up voters.