Family holds Requiem Mass for missing son

By Gary Hatigeva

Two of Christopher Utia Nemaia’s sisters, leading the mass to the Mataniko River site where flowers were laid and put into the water for him.

HUNDREDS turned out yesterday to join the family of Christopher Utia Nemaia in a Requiem Mass held at the Holy Cross Cathedral in honour of his memory. Chris went missing while on duty on April 19.

The programme’s theme “We will not stop looking out for you” reflects the determination in every family member and friend serviceman and woman involved in the ongoing search operation.

The family was joined by his Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (SIVB) colleagues including his CEO and his family, officials from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism including Minister Bartholomew Parapolo and his Permanent Secretary, Andrew Nihopara, and friends.

Christopher, known to many of his friends and family as Chris Uto, was the Marketing Officer responsible for the Asian region and the Fishing Niche Market in Solomon Islands in the SIVB until the time of his disappearance in April 19, 2018.

According to his family and friends, Chris was a very faithful gentleman, with a huge dream and motivated by a very captivated vision to make the Asian region the main market for his country Solomon Islands, which they say he loves so dear.

His determination and zeal to present first-hand information about Solomon Islands as a genuine nirvana drove him until he went missing.

The congregation was told that he was not to go on the trip that ended in disaster, but because he wanted to have a feel of the environment, which was to be part of his new tourism products to market, he asked to go.

Christopher’s fervent duty and tenacity to see Solomon Islands emerge to be well developed in the Tourism arena would him say, “don’t forget the call to action”.

According to both his family and colleagues, Chris had devoted his life for the country’s tourism industry with his patience to invest long hours to develop products alongside tourism operators and the mass is a way of acknowledging his inspiration.

Following the tragic incident that happened on Thursday over a week ago, Christopher went missing and joint searches conducted were unsuccessful in locating him or any evidence of his remains (body).

Following the requiem mass at the Holy Cross Cathedral, the procession laid flowers on the Mataniko river.

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