NEWS

Fijian Born British Army Soldier Grateful For Repatriation Flights As Brits And Europeans Head Home

British High Commissioner to Fiji Melanie Hopkins confirmed 88 European and British nationals boarded the chartered Fiji Airways flight to connect to Melbourne then to Heathrow Airport, London
30 Apr 2020 11:26
Fijian Born British Army Soldier Grateful For Repatriation Flights As Brits And Europeans Head Home
Air Terminal Services (Fiji) Ltd staff member Alivereti Kamanalagi with British Army Staff Sergeant Kalisito Vuevueika at the Nadi International Airport on April 29, 2020. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Staff Sergeant Kalisito Vuevueika is looking forward to seeing his wife and two children in person, back in the United Kingdom.

He was separated from his family after the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to remain in Fiji since there were no international flights out as a result of borders restrictions.

He was among the 88 passengers who boarded a chartered Fiji Airways flight from Nadi International Airport to Melbourne, Australia yesterday.

The Natauloa, Nairai, Lomaiviti, native has been part of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards in Her Majesty Forces for several years.

He returned to Fiji on March 5 after serving a seven-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

“I should have returned on March 28, but the borders were closed so I had no choice. I miss my wife and two children,” he said.

“I am grateful there is a chance to go back. I have spent enough time with the family in Fiji now. My family back home in the UK is missing me.”

Staff Sergeant Vuevueika lives outside London and is not expected to resume work right away.

“To be honest we are grateful to return to the UK after being stuck here. It is unfortunate that things happen after your vacation and you are not prepared for it, but I’m thankful for the chartered flight.

“The battalion is not at work at the moment as all are at home. They are reviewing it and on May 7, they will tell us on the next plan,” he added.
Carter ready to get back home with partner and son

Welsh-born Victoria Alice Carter is taking her partner Paul Farrell Valemei and 15-month-old baby Evan Inia Carter Valemei back home.

“We have to go since a lot of my relatives are really old, and have to make sure that they are okay and my mum is there,” Ms Carter said.

Her grandfather is 96, the grandmother is 90, while her father in the 70s and her mother is in late her 60s. Ms Carter had worked for the Market Development Facility (DFAT funded) since the end of 2014 and is based in Fiji.

Her partner, Mr Valemei is a business consultant usually based in Africa.

“It is a long strange vacation. It was a bit difficult to leave home as we have a permanent base in Fiji now,” Ms Carter said.

“The difficult thing is that we have families on both sides of the world. My family is in Cardiff, Wales. This is the time you feel that family is really far apart.

Mr Valemei said: “This is also an opportunity to introduce our son to the whole family as well.”

“We are really thankful to the British High Commission and Australian High Commission for giving approval to transit in Australia.”

Paul Farrell Valemei holding 15-month-old Evan Inia Carter Valemei and Welsh-born Victoria Alice Carter at the Nadi International Airport on April 29, 2020.   Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Paul Farrell Valemei holding 15-month-old Evan Inia Carter Valemei and Welsh-born Victoria Alice Carter at the Nadi International Airport on April 29, 2020.
Photo: Waisea Nasokia

The Fiji Airways flight is expected to return with more than 70 passengers with freight today.

British government’s work to get Brits and Europeans home

The repatriation flight yesterday was organised by the British government and included passengers from Europe.

It was part of trying to keep commercial flight routes open.

British High Commissioner to Fiji Melanie Hopkins confirmed 88 European and British nationals boarded the chartered Fiji Airways flight to connect to Melbourne then to Heathrow Airport, London

“For us in Fiji, we have worked very well with Fiji Airways as we were able to assist the majority of the British visitors to leave Fiji on commercial flights,” Ms Hopkins said. Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedbackwaisean@fijisun.com.fj



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