Commuters upset over motorcade

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardernholds a wreath at the National War Memorial grounds in Suva yesterday. Picture: RAMA

EARLY morning commuters between Lautoka and Nadi were caught off guard yesterday by the closure of the Queens highway from Nadi airport to the Lautoka Jame Masjid which New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit tomorrow.

The temporary closure for a dry run by the Fiji Police Force left many stranded for over an hour.

Prominent Lautoka lawyer Iqbal Khan said a lot of people were caught in traffic for more than an hour trying to get to their destinations.

“I don’t have anything against Ms Ardern because I feel that she is one of the best world leaders that we have at the moment,” he said.

“She is one of the most beloved world leaders and I can understand why we are going to such lengths, but does it have to be at the inconvenience of the everyday person?”

Mr Khan suggested that an alternative route be found for the visiting world leader.

“We can’t go through this again on Thursday. People have to get to work and on time.

“Why can’t they bring her over in a helicopter from Nadi airport to Churchill Park and she can just take a walk to the mosque.”

According to police, the same timing for the dry run would be implemented tomorrow.

Police added that the following roads near the Lautoka Jame Masjid will be closed from midnight Wednesday to midday tomorrow – Mana St, Valetia St and Yawini St.

“The temporary road closure from Nadi airport to the Lautoka Jame Masjid from 7am to 9am. At 10.30am to 11.30am the same road will be temporarily closed again as the motorcade leaves Lautoka for Namaka for the next official engagement,” the statement read.

“At 12pm the road from the Namaka Market to the Nadi airport will be closed temporarily as the Prime Minister rounds off her official tour of Fiji and departs our shores shortly afterwards.”

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