Another saga unfolds !
THREE SMALL PROBLEMS - we should have listened !
A KAA team or seven athletes and two officials flew out from Tarawa to Nadi on Thursday (July 30). They are heading for the Micronesia sub-Regional Championships being staged thys year on Gold Coast, Australia, instead of in Palau as had been arranged originally. Unfortunately, one passenger on that plane went "missing" and 90 minutes later was found and the Air Pacific flight left Bonriki Airport !
The consequence of this delay was that the group missed their connecting flight to Brisbane on Virgin Blue. Now they were stuck for the night ! Somehow (yet to be divulged), Air Pacific arranged for them to stay in a hotel overnight, be fed, and be put on the 0815 Air Pacific flight to Brisbane on Friday morning. This in fact happened as arranged and they reached Gold Coast in the early afternoon of Friday.
The second trauma was when Fiji Immigration challenged the entry of Ms. Kaitinano Mwemweata, the female athlete and our first Olympian, in Athens 2004. En route to Beijing last year, she was taken seriously ill in Fiji and had to stay for some weeks in hospital. Thus she overstayed her Visitor's visa. This was the Immigration challenge. We therefore contacted ONOC in Suva, Fiji, since they had taken on the responsibility for most of the hospital visits last year, and had arranged for her to be cleared by medical staff AND BY FIJI IMMIGRATION to return to Tarawa. Fortunately they had filed a copy of this clearance. Dr. Robin Mitchell, head of ONOC in Fiji, kindly agreed to use his contacts with Fiji Immigration to clear up this problem.
The third small problem happened here in Tarawa, at the Australian High Commission, when the Short Stay visas were being issued. Eria and David found that their visas had been stuck in EACH OTHER'S PASSPORTS ! In the event, it seems that this was really only a small problem, since both were allowed to board the flight to Brisbane, and both were allowed into Australia ! The mistake was reported to the High Commission and they sent an e-mail to Australian Immigration. Maybe that problem has been solved.