Government pays for ship, plane for Qarase funeral

Government will meet the cost of transporting the body of late former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase to his home island of Vanuabalavu in the Lau group.

Mr Qarase will be laid to rest on Wednesday April 29 at special tomb constructed by the people of Mavana.

The Qarase family released details of his funeral rites on the weekend and took the opportunity to acknowledge and thank the Fijian government for its support.

The late PM was from the village of Mavana on Vanuabalavu where villagers are preparing his final rites.

“The family of the late Mr. Laisenia Qarase has confirmed that the former Prime Minister will be laid to rest in his village of Mavana on the island of Vanuabalavu in Lau Province,” the family spokesperson and traditional herald Mesake Koroi said.

Mr Koroi said one of Mr. Qarase’s final wishes could now be fulfilled following the government’s decision to relax inter-island travel from this Sunday.

“On behalf of Mrs. Leba Qarase and the family, we would like to place on the record our appreciation to the Fijian Government’s decision to lift the ban on inter-island travel.”

Mesake Koroi, Qarase Family Spokesperson

“Now the vanua ko Qalitu can join the family of Tui Kobuca in according him a funeral that befits a leader that he really was.”

As chief of Mavana village, Mr Qarase held the title of Tui Kobuca and so the later former PMs funeral will include chiefly rites.

A government boat departs for Vanuabalavu today carrying family members and relatives of the former Prime Minister.

“The casket of Mr Qarase will be flown in a chartered aircraft to the island on Wednesday for burial.”

“The Fiji Government has offered to meet the cost of the plane and the ship.”

Meanwhile, commercial operator Goundar Shipping has organized a special on its vessel Lomaiviti Princess 9 which is expected to carry over 400 mourners at reduced costs. Included is a large contingent of media personell whose transport costs have been met by funeral organisers.

MaiTV is expected to run a special coverage of the funeral on its flagship current affairs show Simpson At Eight airing 8pm on MaiTV, Walesi and on the TV network’s Facebook page.

Mr Qarase was the country’s sixth Prime Minister from 2000 to 2006, the only one so far to have led a multi-party cabinet.

He passed away at the Oceania Private Hospital in Suva on Tuesday April 21 after a short illness. He was 79. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Leba Qarase, seven children, 27 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

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