Businesses, schools and the members of public in Port Vila generally showed their gratefulness and sadness at the passing of the President of Vanuatu, Baldwin Lonsdale, in the way they responded to the appeal of organizers for the funeral cortege when it traveled through the city to the airport.
Businesses along the route of the funeral procession from Parliament House to Bauerfield Airport were closed for two hours from 11am to 1pm and thousands of students from a number of schools in Port Vila and the general public, to two year old toddlers, lined the streets to show their last respects and bid farewell to their beloved President.
They threw flowers, laid colourful lengths of calico and namele – the chiefly traditional leave for peace, on the roads and in a one of a kind two men appeared with two bottles of kava and reportedly poured the traditional drink in front of the funeral cortege as it passed on its ways to the airport.
The people stood in their thousands along Kumul Highway from Asco Motors to Bauerfield Airport, their heads bowed when the cortege passed and a good number of them either went by vehicle or walked to the airport, where thousands gathered to see the body of their beloved President off.
Business owners, schools and the public must be commended for heeding the request for respect of the public holiday in honor of the late President, to close businesses for two hours from 11am to 1pm and for the people to turn up at that time and give the body of the late President a sendoff deserving of his contribution to the office that symbolizes the unity of the nation.