23 Apr 2004

Discordant note in Fiji in Ratu Mara's funeral

3:21 pm on 23 April 2004

A group of people in Lau, home to the late Fijian statesman Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, has threatened to boycott his state funeral.

The Fiji Sun reports the people of Lomaloma village on the outer island will not be at the funeral.

The newspaper says the message has been relayed to the chairman of the Lau provincial council, Ratu Josefa Basulu, by one of the three chiefs in Lomaloma.

Ratu Josefa says the reason given is that although Ratu Mara was born in Lomaloma, its people have not been informed in a traditional manner about his death.

Ratu Josefa says the Lomaloma people should be at the funeral because a lot of other people in Lau have also not been informed in a traditional manner about the funeral arrangements.

Traditional Fijian protocol requires all district chiefs to be informed of important events in the customary formal manner.

Meanwhile Ratu Mara's tomb at the chiefly burial ground has been completed by its traditional clan builders and sealed off from the eyes of the people with a large sheet of tapa from Tonga.