How I met Gaddafi
FORMER agricultural advisor to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Warren Polglase, has backed the Libyan people's push to have the dictator ousted from power.
The Tweed Shire Councillor made numerous visits to Libya in the late 1970s as part of an advisory group to Gaddaffi, who has been ruler of the country since he led a coup in 1969.
Cr Polglase knows the city Benghazi well and met the dictator a number of times.
“He has been in power for 40-odd years ... and has run the country like a dictatorship,” Cr Polglase said.
“I think what is happening now is that the younger generation are much-better connected to the outside world – with the internet and social networking sites – and have decided they want a transition to an elected, democratic government,” he said.
Cr Polglase said Libya was oil-rich and a wealthy country, but the people had lived under an oppressive regime.
One example he gave was that if any Libyan wanted to leave the country they weren't allowed to take family members. The family was used as a kind of insurance to make sure that person returned.
Libya has a temperate climate, similar to the Tweed, and in the 1970s Gaddafi was attempting to build up the country's agriculture industry so it could provide its own food.
Cr Polglase was part of a group which made trips every three months to advise the administration on agricultural issues.
“There were several people involved in a similar thing,” he said.
“I found Gaddaffi all right, just like any other leader.
“We would give him advice on what to buy. One of the deals we put to him, for example, was to buy 2000 Massey Ferguson tractors.
“We gave him the advice and he decided what to do with it.”
Cr Polglase would love to one day return to the country, just not at present.