Where’s my daddy? Es­ther, 3, still asks

Fel­low of­fi­cers, fam­i­lies hon­our fallen com­rades.

Fiji Sun - - Nation - JOSAIA RALAGO josaia.ralago@fi­jisun.com.fj

The youngest child of the late Cor­po­ral Te­bu­teri Mauteti, Es­ther Mauteti, con­tin­ues to ask where her daddy is dur­ing fam­ily devo­tions in the evening. Her griev­ing mother, Seini Mauteti, could only re­ply: “He has gone to a bet­ter place, which we should also pre­pare for.”

At the Labasa Po­lice bar­racks yes­ter­day, emo­tions flowed as, Es­ther, 3, joined her mother yes­ter­day to hon­our a fa­ther and hus­band dur­ing the an­nual Po­lice Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­mony.

Es­ther’s fa­ther died while train­ing with the Po­lice Rugby Team in Labasa two months ago. Now a widow, Ms Mauteti fought hard to hold back tears as she wit­nessed the programme with­out her hus­band for the first time. “This is an an­nual event marked by the Fiji Po­lice com­mu­nity which I have also been a part of, but I never dreamt that I would be stand­ing to­day in the front­line as one of those who have lost a loved one,” Mrs Mauteti said. Her emo­tions were still raw two months on as the mother of four talked of her hus­band. “I had just wo­ken up when I re­ceived news that he had passed away here in Labasa. I just sat on the bed and broke down,” Mrs Mauteti said. “He was a lovely man and my three younger chil­dren are still ask­ing about him es­pe­cially dur­ing our de­vo­tion time ev­ery evening. I al­ways tell them that he has gone to a bet­ter place which we should also pre­pare for. “The sad­dest part of to­day’s programme was when I saw Po­lice of­fi­cers march­ing in and the ones who sat around the tent, know­ing in my heart that if he had not died, Te­bu­teri would still be among them to­day (yes­ter­day).” They were among 200 peo­ple at the Labasa Po­lice bar­racks green to com­mem­o­rate the lives of of­fi­cers who had died while on duty.

The late Cor­po­ral Mauteti is sur­vived by his wife Seini, four chil­dren Meri Fane, 9, Ere­masi Mauteti, 7, Kinder­garten stu­dent Fil­imoni Kaitu, and Es­ther Mauteti. He was an of­fi­cer at the Savusavu Po­lice Sta­tion. Edited by Naisa Koroi

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