22 Apr 2004

Fiji's Lakeba to prepare for Mara funeral

10:34 am on 22 April 2004

An advance party of Fiji military and naval officers and government officials will arrive this morning on the home island of former prime minister, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

Ratu Mara died in Suva last Sunday and will be buried at Lakeba in the Lau group on May 3.

The navy commander, Viliame Naupoto, has told the Fiji Times the advance party will carry out assessments of what is required on the island for the funeral which is expected to be attended by dignitaries from around the region.

Substantial new infrastructure will be required on the island for the large numbers of people who'll be there.

Domestic airlines expect an increase in demand for seats to Lakeba in the weeks ahead until the funeral is over, and plan to put on extra flights and charters.

A cabinet sub-committee organising the state funeral will finalise details of its budget today, with some official estimates suggesting it will cost over US$850,000.